Purpose of this Guide
Yes, I already have a Druid guide, Master of Forms, Storms, and Swarms. That guide is being discontinued, and once I migrate all of the material from it I'll be updating this guide exclusively. The main reason that I'm abandoning the old guide is because I foolishly didn't reserve enough posts. In pondering how I would incorporate the new Sentinel build into the existing space of that guide, I managed to screw up one of the posts so that when I edit it brings up a whole mess of really weird code, but none of the buttons (Submit Post, etc.) are present on the page. Easier to just start fresh (plus the old title doesn't really apply to the new build, thus the very generic title of this thread).
Why Play a Druid?
- Druids are versatile: Some Druids travel with a loyal animal companion, while others can use Wild Shape to turn into animals. Druids have ranged and close implement attacks, weapon attacks, and beast form attacks. Wild Shape Druids can change their fighting style in response to the flow of combat, while Sentinels can literally be in two places at once. Wild Shape Druids have an impressive repertoire of 3 at-will attacks by default, though Sentinals are unfortunately at the opposite extreme with just 1.
- Druids fill multiple roles: Wild Shape Druids are primary controllers that can dip into the striker role without sacrificing much control. Specialized builds can also be quite competent as secondary leaders or defenders. Sentinels are primary leaders, though they trade some ability in this role for pure damage encounter powers. They can also pick up controller powers to diversify their abilities.
- Druids are the best summoners: Druid summons get instinctive actions, and while some of them are risky, there are plenty of "safe" onces to choose from. Attacking without the Druid needing to spend an action provides a nice boost to DPR, and is often a good enough incentive for enemies to attack the summoned creature, which means that you and your allies aren't getting attacked (and the summon's HP pool is "cheaper" than a PCs). Some summons even get some control effects tacked onto their instinctive actions. Furthermore, a Sentinel's animal companion is essentially an at-will summon.
- Druids are mobile: Wild Shape grants you a minor action shift (which can be a free action in Paragon) and Predators can significantly increase the distance with a feat, plus many of their powers grant shifts. It also helps that you're an extremely competent charger, so in theory you can Wild Shape (shift) to disengage from an enemy, use your move action to swing around and position yourself, and then charge a particularly juicy enemy (and probably end up flanking for the charge attack, given all of that re-positioning). Wild Shape Druids are great at punching through the front line and taking on the squishies in back, and take note that they have several tricks up their sleeve for locking down/severely punishing ranged enemies. Sentinel Druids can move two creatures (Druid + animal companion) with a single move action, and if one is affected by a movement hindering condition, the other can probably move about normally.
GOLD indicates what is essentially a must-have option, a rare gem indeed.
Sky Blue options should be strongly considered, as these are optimal choices.
Blue options are very good; they're generally useful and often optimal depending on build.
Black is average. Solid option, but you could probably do better (you're pretty safe sticking with these for thematic reasons, though).
Purple indicates a below average choice, but for certain character builds (or to preserve thematic consistency) it's still viable. Still, you shouldn't choose too many of these.
Red is pretty much junk. Take it at your own risk, but remember that you were warned.
PHB = Players Handbook
PHB2 = Players Handbook 2
PHB3 = Players Handbook 3
PrP = Primal Power (may also be referred to as PP, though I'll try to be consistent)
MP = Martial Power
FRPG = Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
EPG = Eberron Player's Guide
DSCS = Dark Sun Campaign Setting
AV = Adventurer's Vault
AV2 = Adventurer's Vault 2
D### = Dragon issue ###
PHH = Players Handbook Heroes minis set
HotFL = Heroes of the Fallen Lands
HotFK = Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
HoS = Heroes of Shadow
HotF = Heroes of the Feywild
HotEC = Heroes of the Elemental Chaos
MBA = melee basic attack
RBA = ranged basic attack
OA = opportunity attack
NAD = non-AC defenses (Fortitude, Reflex, and Will)
Molecule, for his excellent Druid guide, Heart of the Wild (which you should check out, because multiple opinions are useful).
Furious_kender for his Sentinel Druid guide, Critters R Us.
LDB for the standardized format.
Everyone that posts with commentary/suggestions.